Masked assailants invaded and robbed the home of a Catholic priest in Stockport, Greater Manchester this week. The priest says he feels 'nothing but sadness' for the two men who threatened him, locked him in a cupboard and stole £600 set aside for charity.
The home of Father Philip Caldwell – the living quarters of St Joseph's Church in Reddish, Stockport – was robbed at about 4am on Tuesday, according to the Manchester Evening News. The two male attackers, one of whom was wearing a red devil mask and the other a balaclava, smashed through a glass door, threatened Caldwell with a screwdriver and then trapped him in a cupboard. They stole the parish computer, an iPhone, a watch and £600 of charity money that had been donated to St Joseph's, designated for churches in deprived parts of Bethlehem.
The priest was uninjured by the attack, but said it was a 'shock' and that he pitied the attackers: 'I do feel sorry for them that they had to go to that length.
'What sort of situation do they have to be in to want to steal from a Parish that isn't very rich? I feel quite sad for them.
'You just realise that you don't want those people in your home or community.'
Father John Paul McShane and Father Sean Wyllie, friends staying at the church, raised the alarm when they heard the attack taking place, but police advised them to remain in their rooms until the thieves had fled.
Greater Manchester Police has launched an investigation into the assailants, who it has said are white males. Detective Constable Andrew Budsworth said: 'This was a terrifying robbery where the offenders really are the lowest of the low.
'They knew that they were intending on stealing money that had been donated to charity.
'The victims were left incredibly shaken by their ordeal and we are doing all that we can to help them through it and get them the justice they deserve.
'We are appealing for anyone who knows who these men could be or saw anyone acting suspiciously in the early hours of Tuesday morning, to get in touch with police as soon as possible.'
Police are inviting anyone with information to contact 0161 856 9970 or 101 - or speak anonymously to Crimestoppers, at 0800 555 111.